Thursday, July 31, 2014

From My Library: "How Angel Peterson Got His Name"

I grew up with Gary Paulsen's Hatchet and other great adventure books. I didn't discover How Angel Peteterson Got His Name until after I was married.

My husband doesn't read as many kids books as I do, but we read this one out loud together on a car trip. He was driving, I was reading, or at least trying to read. I can't remember the last time a book made me laugh so hard I cried. Really.

In this book, Paulsen shares his most hilarious childhood adventures. Each chapter is a separate tale. I regularly used this book in my seventh grade English classrooms for what we called an ATAWT (activity to avoid wasted time). If there were five extra minutes or so remaining until the bell rang, I'd pull out Angel Peterson and read out loud.

The kids loved it.

Paulsen does a great job sharing experiences from "back in the day" and explaining technology of the time in a way modern children understand and without slowing the story down. His stories are so fun and engaging that I would have students return after school to finish reading the chapter we started on their own. I taught the "reluctant reader" classes, so that's saying something.

Officially classified as YA, it appeals to a much broader range. Older middle grade will love this book, as well as many adults.

And for us writers, it's a great study for anyone writing humor or memoir. 

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